Unlike spousal maintenance, child support is based on the Child Support Guidelines which set forth the cost of supporting a child or children. It is a calculation based on the incomes of the parties, parenting time, other expenses paid by the parties and the basic child support amount set forth in the Guidelines. Taken into consideration in addition to the basic child support amount are expenses for child care, health insurance and a 10% increase of the basic child support amount for any child over the age of 12 years. In addition, adjustment is made for the amount of parenting time awarded to the paying parent.
Most disputes regarding the appropriate amount of child support relates to the income to be used for the parties. If a party is unemployed, the Court can impute minimum wage for that party. If a party is working only part time, the Court can impute full time income for that party. If a party is voluntary unemployed or underemployed, the Court can impute income commensurate with what the party had been making prior to becoming unemployed or underemployed. Under the guidelines the Court can consider overtime and bonuses as part of a party’s income, if those bonuses are guaranteed or if the bonuses and/or overtime have been a regular part of the parent’s income. However, these decisions are discretionary with the Court, not mandated, and how the Court calculates a parent’s income can fluctuate from Judge to Judge.
If you would like more information regarding what child support you might expect in your own case, please contact us at 480-222-5662 to schedule a free consultation.